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Delay sought in placement of bats on endangered list

WALKER — Cass County Tuesday joined the state departments of natural resources from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana in formally requesting a delay to study habitat of long eared bats before placing them on the endangered species list.

Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson said the white nose fungus that has hit this bat species hard is the primary cause for their demise and not their loss of habitat.

Placing them on the endangered species list would largely shut down summer logging in this area, Stevenson said. It would prevent the county from using its timber management plan to protect other endangered species the county tries to manage forests to preserve, he added.

He said it has been shown that bats use snag trees left after logging operations, which Cass County’s timber cutting program already requires.

The county plans to send copies of the board’s letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Minnesota congressional delegation.

The commissioners passed a resolution to ask Minnesota DNR to renew grant-in-aid trail status and funding for four cross country, two all-terrain vehicle and 17 snowmobile trails in the county.

They authorized matching $1,500 the Emily-Outing Snowbirds snowmobile club had raised to build a shelter on a trail in South Trelipe Township.

Stevenson obtained board approval to add a 40-acre parcel in Byron Township to the June 28 county land auction after two neighboring property owners expressed an interest in purchasing it. The acreage is appraised at $37,500, the minimum bid that will be accepted.

Kurt Sawyer was successful low bidder to remove garbage and building materials from 14 tax forfeited properties in the county. He will be paid $95 per hour, with the total not to exceed $1,800.

Sawyer also won a contract to repair a damaged gate on a county trail in Home Brook Township for $160.

Blue Water Wells was successful low bidder to fill and seal an old well on a tax forfeit parcel in Turtle Lake Township for $700.

Sawyer Timber was successful low bidder to grade Bungo/Moose Lake, Deerfield and Bull Moose forest access trails for $2,200. Low bidder Holmvig Excavating will grade the Old Grade forest access trail for $3,673. There were a total of four bidders.

The board awarded a contract to Lawrence Valuation Services LLC to appraise four land parcels in Becker, Hiram and Byron (2) Townships at a cost not to exceed $10,800, preliminary to the county purchasing the land with state outdoor heritage money from the 3/8ths cent sales tax.

Cass County sold all 10 logging tracts offered at an April 24 auction. Loggers paid $264,380.74 for the wood. Aspen sold for $29.12 per cord.

The lowest was the $4.12 per cord paid for tamarack. The highest was the $33.27 paid for jackpine. Red and white saw logs sold for $204.30 per thousand board feet.